can scalp massage treat hair loss

After the quite frankly alarming story that hit social media recently, about a mum who bought a vibrator online thinking it was a scalp massager to help stimulate her follicles, we got to thinking about the question: can scalp massage treat hair loss?

Follicle stimulation

The concept sounds believable – after all, a lot of bonafide hair loss treatments talk about stimulating the hair follicles, so surely a scalp massage could do the same job at a fraction of the price?

Sadly, when it comes to actually dealing with hair loss, we’re not talking about that kind of stimulation. To encourage new hair growth, you need to stimulate the follicles from the inside, triggering them to produce hairs.

If you look at a treatment like platelet-rich plasma therapy, which very much relies on follicle stimulation, what it’s actually doing is triggering the body’s wound-healing mechanism, thus causing new stem cells to be produced in the hair follicles, which should in turn spark the growth of new hair.

So why do so many scalp massagers claim to be good for hair growth?

Whilst there is no evidence that scalp massage can stimulate hair growth, experts are all agreed that the process is great for your hair.

Used regularly, a handheld scalp massager (which can be as simple as a plastic brush, you don’t need any fancy gadgets) can help to exfoliate, loosen dandruff and improve circulation.

A small minority of hair loss sufferers find that their hair is thinning due to poor circulation. For these fortunate few, a scalp massager could provide the answer, but for the rest of us, it probably won’t do much more than ensure that the hair we do have is shiny and healthy looking.

What options are there to deal with hair loss?

There are any number of hair loss treatments available, and the one that is most suitable for you will depend on the type of hair loss you are experiencing, as well as your preferences in terms of how invasive the treatment is, or if you prefer something a little more natural.

If you do prefer to take a more natural route, hair growth supplements can be a great option, so long as you choose carefully. Otherwise, Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT) can offer a very effective, minimally invasive hair loss treatment, depending on how extensive your hair loss is.

If you prefer a more surefire route, hair transplant surgery works well, but is best suited to men at a more advanced stage of balding, or scalp micropigmentation is a great way to disguise hair loss.

Whatever your preference, your best first step is to speak to an expert. Why not contact us today to book a consultation with one of our hair loss specialists.

hair loss treatment options

Losing your hair is a pretty emotive subject, and with a bewildering array of products and treatments out there, all promising to restore your mane to its former glory, it can be hard to know where to start.

Here, we set out to put together a list of all the options available and explain what each one does and what kind of hair loss it is most suitable for.

Laser therapy

This is an in-clinic, non-invasive hair loss option, with each session lasting around 30 minutes, and a recommended course of two sessions a week over around six weeks recommended for the best results.

How does it work?

The laser emits red light into the scalp, stimulating the hair follicles and encouraging new growth.

Who is a suitable candidate?

If you’re experiencing mild hair loss, but don’t quite feel ready to undergo a hair transplant, this could be for you.

Scalp micropigmentation (SMP)

Again, this is an in-clinic treatment, and should really only be administered by a trained SMP specialist. While results can be seen from the first treatment session, usually a second session is needed to ensure the finished look is exactly as you wish.

How does it work?

The process is similar to tattooing, but subtly different. Pigment is injected into the skin of the scalp at varying angles – and using various shades – to provide a very close replica of genuine hair growth.

Who is a suitable candidate?

The great thing about SMP is it works on anyone – you can shave your hair completely and use SMP to create the effect of a buzz cut, or it can be used to disguise any thinning areas.

Scalp microneedling

This is a minimally-invasive, in-clinic treatment, with around eight sessions needed in total, spaced one to two weeks apart. Results can be seen about nine months from the end of treatment.

How does it work?

Scalp microneedling involves the application of tiny needles across the whole scalp, creating thousands of tiny micro wounds. This instigates the body’s wound-healing response, creating a surge of stem cells and growth factors, to help stimulate hair growth.

Who is a suitable candidate?

As with laser treatment, this is one for those of you at the beginning of your hair loss journey.

Hair transplant

This is probably the most hardcore option, as it is fairly invasive. The operation needs to be performed in a clinical environment and can take most of a day.

How does it work?

The procedure is usually performed under local anaesthetic, so you will be awake throughout. The surgeon harvests hair follicles from a donor site, usually at the back of your head, and transplants them to the thinning areas – typically around the hairline.

Who is a suitable candidate?

Hair transplant surgery is generally more suitable for those with more advanced hair loss. While you can choose to undergo treatment earlier in the process, there is a strong likelihood that you will then need to have further surgeries in future, as the hairline continues to recede behind the transplanted follicles.

For more information about any of these procedures, or to book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts, please contact us.

causes of hair loss

What would be your first port of call when you start to notice hair loss? For most of us, it’s probably the pharmacist, the hairdresser, or if the problem is really persistent a doctor or a hair loss specialist. It’s unlikely that you’d think about going to the dentist; just as you wouldn’t go to the hairdresser for a filling.

However, a trip to the dentist might not be as ridiculous a suggestion as it sounds; research shows that there can be a link between tooth infection and hair loss, so if you’ve checked out other causes of hair loss, maybe it’s worth crossing this one off the list too.

Tooth infection and hair loss

While there are many different hair loss conditions, the one that is most likely to be linked to tooth infection is alopecia areata.

In fact, it’s not just a tooth infection that can cause alopecia areata. Any kind of infection in the body can lead to patches of hair loss. Usually, these patches appear close to the site of infection; so in the case of an oral infection, you might notice hair loss on the jaw or lip (more noticeable in men!), or even on the eyebrow.

However, alopecia has been known to occur further from the site of infection, so just because your hair loss is on your scalp, doesn’t mean it can’t be linked to your teeth.

How do I know if my hair loss is alopecia areata?

Alopecia areata presents quite differently from most other forms of hair loss.

Hereditary hair loss associated with ageing (androgenic alopecia, or more commonly: male- or female-pattern baldness), usually follows a specific pattern. In men, this tends to start with a receding hairline, sometimes accompanied by balding at the crown. Women tend to experience more diffuse thinning, usually around the parting.

Telogen effluvium, where hair follicles get pushed into the resting phase of the cycle earlier than usual – often due to stress or trauma – usually shows as thinning across the whole head.

With alopecia areata, however, hair loss tends to show as noticeable bald patches. This is where all the hairs fall out of a particular area. In some more extreme cases, all the hair on the head can fall out; this is known as alopecia totalis. Very rarely, all the hair on the body may be affected, in a condition called alopecia universalis.

What to do if you think your hair loss could be caused by a tooth infection

If you’re not sure what’s causing your hair loss, but you think it could be alopecia areata, the best first step is to visit your doctor or a hair loss specialist – such as one of the trichologists here at Hair Ambulance – so they can verify what type of hair loss you are experiencing.

If it is alopecia areata, this can be treated on its own, however if you have also been experiencing dental pain, it is definitely worth a trip to the dentist, as treating the underlying infection can only help with treating the hair loss, and will certainly go some way towards preventing the problem from recurring.

For more information or to book a consultation with one of our hair loss specialists, please contact us on 0121 312 2999.

hair loss drug

While hair loss treatments are being tweaked and improved all the time, it has actually been twenty years since a drug to treat hair loss has been approved. But all that could be about to change, as no less than three European pharmaceutical firms are currently inching closer to the hair loss product launch we’ve all been waiting for.

Follicum

Swedish biotech firm Follicum is currently in phase II clinical trials with its contender, which is based on a variant of the protein osteopontin. Follicum scientists came up with the idea whilst researching treatments for arterioscelosis, when they observed that the protein could increase hair growth in mice.

Further investigation showed that osteopontin could actually stimulate dormant hair follicles, and two clinical trials on an injectable form of the drug have shown positive results in humans. Trials are now underway on a topical cream version of the product.

Cassiopea

Italian biotech Cassiopea is also going down the topical treatment route. Their product works by blocking the production of DHT – a known contributor to androgenic alopecia (male or female pattern baldness) – to have a preventative effect on hair loss, as well as reversing some existing damage.

Diana Harbort, CEO of Cassiopea explains: “Our drug actually antagonises the negative effect of DHT around the follicle, slowing down the hair loss or stopping it. And those follicles that aren’t completely shut down due to DHT, they start producing hair again.”

Cassiopea’s product, Breezula, will enter phase III clinical trials this year, with phases I and II having proved successful, meaning it could be the first new hair loss drug to hit the market in twenty years.

Giuliani

Another Italian firm, Giuliani has been looking at a particularly novel way of treating hair loss. They’ve been studying drugs for other conditions that cause unwanted hair loss as a side effect, and have managed to identify some completely new ways to stimulate hair follicles.

So far, these compounds have proven effective at growing human hair in organ culture in the lab, so the next step is to find some human volunteers to test them on.

So with three new hair loss drugs in the offing, the future looks bright: could 2020 be the year we stop hair loss in its tracks?

autoimmune hair loss

Following in the footsteps of Ricki Lake, Girls writer and co-star Lena Dunham took to Instagram recently to open up about her own hair loss issues.

Dunham, who told fans in November that she has been suffering from the autoimmune disorder Ehler-Danlos syndrome, has now revealed that her decision to shave her head in 2017 came as a direct result of hair loss associated with EDS.

Telling the bald truth

Dunham wrote an emotional post to fans, saying: ‘2 and a half years ago I shaved my head. Not in a fun sassy way, but in a “my hair is all falling out from my autoimmune disease, better rush to the barbershop and pay them 7 bucks to do this” way.’

Never usually one to shy away from telling things how they are, she went on to say that at the time, she “didn’t have very many health answers” and so didn’t know how to explain her condition.

“I also didn’t know how to express my fear to the people around me,” she wrote, “so they just thought ‘There goes Lena getting another erratic hair cut like she has every week since she was seven.”

“Bald is f***ing beautiful”

Although Dunham’s hair has now regrown, she was keen to emphasise that she doesn’t think “long, luscious locks” should be a woman’s defining feature: “that’s why I have an essential issue with the culture of hair gummies and extensions ordered on the home shopping network.”

About autoimmune hair loss

It is an acknowledged fact that autoimmune disease can often be linked to hair loss – alopecia areata is itself an autoimmune disorder, and there is an increased risk of alopecia in people suffering from any other condition that causes the immune system to attack itself.

Luckily, as Dunham has experienced, hair loss due to autoimmune disease is often temporary and resolves itself spontaneously, without need for treatment. Call 0121 312 2999 to book a consultation at The Hair Ambulance for more advice.

itchy scalp and hair loss

While most of us associate an itchy scalp with dandruff, or perhaps even the childhood horror of head lice, experts are now warning that in some cases an itchy scalp could be an early indicator of hair loss.

Androgenic alopecia – otherwise known as female or male pattern baldness – is a genetic condition that happens gradually without much in the way of warning signs. However, some other forms of hair loss, such as alopecia areata and telogen effluvium have a much more rapid onset and doctors believe that an itchy scalp could be a predictor of these conditions.

What does an itchy scalp have to do with hair loss?

A tingling, itchy, or burning sensation on the scalp is known medically as paresthesia, and whilst it can have many causes, it can be a symptom of alopecia, known as trichodynia.

Hair loss experts claim that the sensation can be linked to irritated hair follicles, meaning the hair is about to fall out, or can even be as a result of the hair having already been ejected from the follicle.

Whilst a burning sensation on the scalp can also be a result of using certain chemicals or cosmetic products, doctors say this is not a reason not to seek treatment – the tingling is your body’s way of warning you that something isn’t quite right, and that something could be your hair.

What should I do if I’m experiencing an itchy scalp?

The first port of call would be your GP, but it could also be worth visiting a hair loss expert.

A GP can treat any underlying medical condition, which should, of course, be your first priority, but if the itching is associated with a condition that could lead to hair loss, a hair loss expert will be able to help you minimise the impact of the problem and advise you on possible hair loss products.

If you’ve been feeling tingling or burning sensations on your scalp and are concerned it could be hair loss related, why not book a consultation with us today. Call 0121 312 2999 to book a consultation.

hair loss in women and alcohol

The sober revolution is making it big this year, with support groups for those attempting ‘one year no beer’ popping up all over social media. So we all know the many detrimental effects alcohol can have on our health, but did you know it could cause hair loss?

Alcohol and hair loss – a gender imbalance

Whilst excessive alcohol consumption is bad for everyone, studies show it is worse for women than for men as the enzyme dehydrogenase – which is responsible for breaking down alcohol and eliminating it from the body – is less active in women than in men.

So how does drinking too much wine lead to hair loss in women? Well, while a direct causal link is unclear, there is one association between the two issues which is obvious to anyone with a knowledge of hair loss in women.

Hormone imbalance and hair loss

Drinking alcohol to excess can play havoc with a woman’s reproductive system, causing her menstrual cycle to become erratic or even stop altogether, and leading to huge hormonal imbalance.

Aside from genetics, hormone imbalance is one of the most common reasons for hair loss in women – we suffer from hair loss in pregnancy, post-childbirth and during the menopause, so it stands to reason that anything that messes with our hormones could also cause hair loss.

What to do if you think alcohol is causing your hair loss

Luckily, most hair loss caused by hormonal imbalance is reversible, so the answer to this is pretty simple – cut back on your drinking (or ideally stop altogether) and you should see your hair return to its former glory.

However, before making any major lifestyle changes, it is important to seek advice from your GP – although cutting out alcohol can never be a bad thing, if you are drinking enough to cause hair loss, chances are you may need to cut back gradually. It’s also important to rule out any other underlying medical conditions that could be a factor.

hair transplant advice
Premier League footballers are perhaps the most renowned hair transplant enthusiasts of all celebrities – surpassing even actors and rock stars in their desire to maintain a full head of hair.
So are these sportsmen just more vain than their peers, or is there something else at play? According to Ryan Giggs, the latest (former) footballer to join the hair transplant ranks, it’s all about the stress of the game.

Stress-related hair loss

Former England player and sometimes Wales manager Giggs told the Daily Mail:
“Football is stressful. You put yourself under pressure. You’re aware of the consequences if you lose a game or don’t play well. You are under the spotlight and if you have a bad game you are aware of the criticism. Then it becomes a little bit more stressful. And stress is related to hair loss.”
It is true that stress is a major factor when it comes to hair loss – whether it’s a single traumatic event causing sudden shedding, or long term, chronic stress leading to a steady decline in hair growth.
And that stress can be exacerbated for men, whose mates are unlikely to be sensitive to their feelings when it comes to hair loss. Giggs tells how he went to the pub with some friends to celebrate a win against Liverpool, aged 29. Rather than congratulate him on his football skills, these two former schoolmates pointed out the increasing bald patch at his crown.

What hair loss treatments has Giggs undergone?

The footballer’s first response on learning of his hair loss was to go for a shorter cut, to disguise the thinning area. He then visited a clinic, where he underwent a course of shampoos, laser treatments and lotions, to stimulate hair growth.
This in itself was effective enough to inspire him to become a partner in the clinic in 2015, but in 2017 Giggs decided that a 1500 follicle hair transplant procedure would give his confidence a further boost.
It took just over a year for the final results to be seen, but Giggs is very pleased with the effect: “I’m really happy with it. The only negative I have is that I didn’t do it earlier,” he told the Daily Mail.
For more hair transplant advice, call 0121 312 2999.
hair loss cure
There has been a wave of YouTube videos recently, advocating the use of homemade ‘scalp rubs’ to cure hair loss. These home remedies include ingredients like onion, chilli and cayenne pepper, which it is claimed will reduce hair loss and stimulate new growth.

So do these home hair loss cures actually work?

Usually, we’d say there’s no harm in giving home cures a try – since the financial outlay involved is minimal they’re a fairly low-risk endeavour, even if they don’t have much effect.
However, in this case, some doctors are suggesting that rubbing chilli on your scalp could do more harm than good. When applied directly to the scalp, chilli will produce a tingling, burning sensation, which may give you cause to think it’s having an effect – but it might not be quite the effect you’re looking for.
Consultant dermatologist and spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation Sharon Moon told the Metro: “Rubbing chilli in any of its forms directly onto the scalp can cause burning sensations, hypersensitivity and contact dermatitis, which if severe enough can potentially cause hair loss as a secondary effect.” Not ideal!

What options are available to treat hair loss effectively?

The bottom line is that you’re not going to find an effective hair loss treatment that’s as cheap as chopping up a few chillies, but if you’re prepared to invest a bit of money there are plenty of options out there.
  • Hair transplant surgery – this is a highly effective option for more advanced cases of male pattern hair loss. It’s pricey, but it works, and these days the scarring is barely visible. If you’re a woman with hair loss though, or a man with just the beginnings of a receding hairline, hair transplant surgery might not be the right choice for you.
  • Low level laser therapy (LLLT) – this has been shown to be relatively effective, particularly on female pattern hair loss, which tends to be more diffuse. Cheaper than a hair transplant, the results are not guaranteed, but you’ve got a better chance than using a scalp rub!
  • Scalp MicroPigmentation (SMP) – this one is absolutely guaranteed to work, but it’s not about slowing hair loss, or stimulating new hair growth. This revolutionary, tattoo-like treatment simulates the look of close-shorn hair. Shave your head and go for the buzz cut look, or if diffuse thinning is your problem, use it to disguise the thinning areas.
For more information on ways you can treat hair loss without heading to the vegetable garden, why not book a consultation with one of our hair loss experts today.
Which hair loss products are effective

In a recent article for the Guardian, Simon Usborne argues that the ‘hair wellness’ industry, rather than offering a solution to our problems, is in fact making money out of the fact that many men – according to a survey of 10,000 – “would rather have a small penis than go bald”.

So is Usborne right – should we all just accept hair loss as our fate and go bald as gracefully as we can?

Hair loss – a complex issue

What Usborne fails to take into account is that for some people it isn’t quite as simple as sucking it up and getting on with it – hair loss can cause some men real distress.

And as one of the interviewees in the Guardian article explains, cosmetic procedures for women have been widely accepted for many years – why should there be a stigma about men choosing to do what is effectively the same thing?

However, it is undoubtedly true that many hair loss products available today have little tangible effect, so how can you find the right solution for your hair loss problem, without just lining the coffers of another money-grabbing cosmetics manufacturer?

Do your research

The real answer is that you need to look into the claims made by the manufacBald or bust: Is the hair loss industry just playing on our insecurities? | The Hair Ambulancezturers of your chosen product or treatment in a bit more depth – don’t believe ‘what it says on the tin’, see if there is any scientific evidence to back it up.

Solutions like hair transplant surgery have a strong track record and a much higher chance of success, but it is important to know whether it’s the right option for you – if you’re too early on in the hair loss process you could end up needing several transplants over the course of your lifetime, which could be costly – both financially and emotionally.

Another option is to seek expert advice, and let them do the research for you. At the Hair Ambulance, we offer honest, impartial advice on all the different hair loss solutions available, and if we don’t think a particular treatment will work for you, we will say so. For more information, why not contact us to book a consultation.

Get in touch

    The Hair Ambulance is our mobile service where you can be seen by one of our experts but if you prefer you can attend one of our private hair loss clinics. Fill in the contact form and one of our team will be in touch to find out how best we can help.

    Alternatively, call us on the number below or drop us a line.

    0121 312 2999

    © Copyright The Hair Ambulance